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Reward offered in hunt for alleged firework murder suspect

A general view of a property in Birchtrees Drive, Tile Cross, Birmingham, as a 56-year-old man is fighting for his life after a fire at his home – with police saying the blaze may have been an arson attack started by a firework. Photo: PA Archive/PA Images

Murder detectives have appealed for information on the whereabouts of a man wanted in connection with the death of a father in an arson attack sparked by an industrial firework.

Ronan Blake, 18, is wanted for questioning after the death of Anthony Nicholls who died in hospital after a firework was set off inside his home on November 2 last year, West Midlands Police said.

Crimestoppers have now offered a £5,000 reward for information on the location of Blake, who is believed to be in Sheldon, Birmingham.

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A large firework was placed in 56-year-old Mr Nicholls’ address in Tile Cross, Birmingham, by a group of men after the front door was forced open as the occupants ate dinner, at around 11.20pm.

Mr Nicholls died five days later, while the former Land Rover worker’s partner was left with life-changing injuries after jumping from a first-floor window to escape the blaze.

Pauline Hadley, West Midlands regional manager at Crimestoppers, said: “This was such a thoughtless, heartless act carried out, and Anthony’s family deserve some answers as to why he was taken away from them.

“This is why I am asking anyone with information on the whereabouts of Ronan Blake, to contact our charity anonymously.”